Coast Guard joins search for 2 missing mariners off Kiribati

Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules airplane photo courtesy of the Coast Guard Cutter Kimball

Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules airplane photo courtesy of the Coast Guard Cutter Kimball

HONOLULU — The U.S. Coast Guard deployed an aircrew to aid Joint Rescue Coordination Center Fiji in searching for two missing mariners off the coast of Nonouti Island, Thursday.

An Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules aircrew began conducting search patterns after adhering to Fiji Ministry of Health COVID-19 safety precautions.

The mariners, missing since September, were last seen departing in a 15ft aluminum skiff from the south end of Nonouti Island for a 25-mile transit to Tabiteuea.

“One of our largest challenges when conducting search and rescue missions in the Pacific is the shear size of the search area,” said Michael Cobb, command duty officer for JRCC. “Because of this challenge we often work closely with our partners in joint responses. It’s through coordination with local, regional, and international partners we are able to cover more ground and increase our chances of saving a life.”

Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu watchstanders are working closely with Rescue Coordination Center Fiji to maximize search efforts.

The weather on scene is winds of 20 mph and seas up to 4 feet.

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